TechNet UK

Useful tools, tips & resource for IT professionals including daily news, downloads, how-to info and practical advice from the Microsoft UK TechNet team, partners and MVP's

April, 2013

UK  TechNet Flash Newsletter
  • Using Lync to run Tech Days Online

    Hopefully many of you attended Tech Days Online last and got lots of value from the event.  From a production perspective whilst it was a great deal of hard work, we really enjoyed the event and the end result.

    I thought I would put up a quick post on how we managed to run the communications side of the event.  These types of events are quite complex to put together and there are lots of moving parts.  In particular we needed to ensure that there was regular communication between the film (and sound crew), the moderators and the actual presenters.  We also needed a solution to keep the presenters informed of the latest developments and provide them with up to date  questions from the audience. 

    <What you didn't see on screen at Tech Days Online>

    We decided to operate a Lync meeting to run the event.  The presenters were equipped with Surface devices and Voyager Legend UC ear pieces care of Plantronics.  The team in the moderating room were in "passive" mode listening into the communications whilst not being able to talk. 

    <The team running the moderating Tech Days Online>

    I was running the production desk and had a laptop and a Voyager Legend UC.  I could then communicate with the presenters and the moderating team knew what was going on as well.

    When it came to questions of feedback to the presenters, they both had copies of Lync running on their Surface devices which meant they could react quickly to questions from the audience or knew when to finish their session.  Communication is key to running this type of event and Lync provided us with an effective, free platform to co-ordinate from.

    <Simon looking at the production desk>

    If you want to find out more about Lync then you can do so by downloading it here: <Download Trial of Lync>

    Thanks for reading, I hope you found it interesting.

    Dan @danpi

  • TechDays Online: Device Showcase List & Resources

    Yesterday we showed a whole range of devices in the TechDays Online 2013 session called the Device Showcase.  Devices shown are (or will be) all listed at our online Windows 8 tool :

    Note the devices section Is the best place for released devices.

    The Devices shown on TechDays Online were:

    • Panasonic ToughBook CF-AX2
    • Panasonic ToughPad FZ-G1
    • Asus TaiChi
    • Acer S7
    • Acer W510
    • Lenovo Tablet 2
    • Dell Latitude 10
    • Asus Vivo TabRT
    • HP Elitepad

    The most important thing to remember is you now have a lot of choice, not just down to the choice but how simple it is now to deploy to a wide selection of devices using management tools like System Center Configuration Manager 2012 SP1. Two laptops and two desktops won’t cut it anymore, your end users have expectations based on what they can see in the retail/consumer world. If you spend the time looking at user-profiling you will find it much easier to align your role out strategy of the OS, Apps, devices and experience.

  • Learning: Don’t lose your Second Shot

    Time is running out to take advantage of free retakes for failed Microsoft exams. Retake an exam for free before May 31st. Sign up for Second Shot

    In addition pass your exam before May 31st 2013 and you can enter a prize draw for a chance to win a UK Weekend Away, £500 or £100 worth of Amazon vouchers.

  • TechED Europe - 25th to the 28th June - Certifications at 50% off!

    Are you still thinking about attending?  Are you still trying to get sign off from your boss to travel?

    My colleague Denise recently blogged about some of the announcements we've made on the certification side of things:

    A Microsoft certification confirms to everyone—employers, clients, your peers—that you're a technical expert with proven skills. It also makes you part of the elite community of Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCP), which allows you access to exclusive Microsoft resources and benefits such as the MCP member website, career-building tools, and training.

    In the Certification Center at TechEd North America and TechEd Europe 2013, you'll have access to onsite training, Exam Prep sessions, and practice tests, as well as the assistance of MCT Ambassadors who have passed multiple exams.

    Take advantage of this great opportunity to fulfil your certification requirements at a 50% discount at TechEd North America 2013 and TechEd Europe 2013. This opportunity is only available to registered TechEd 2013 attendees.

    Learn more and sign up to take a Microsoft Certification exam at TechEd North America or TechEd Europe.

    Not registered yet for TechEd 2013? Register today and start planning your ideal conference schedule!

    Register for TechEd Europe

    All Microsoft Certification Exams will be offered at 50% off the regular price to TechEd Europe attendees.

    It's always difficult to demonstrate the value of these types of events to colleagues of bosses who have not attended, the advantages gained on the certification side of things may be one way to support your case.

  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure – What are the licensing implications?


    For those of you who were lucky enough to join is in sunny Southampton for the Windows 8 IT Pro camp last week, you would have had the opportunity to speak to our licensing guru Vicky Lea. The main focus was on Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and what are the licensing implications.

    PCs in organisations are licensed per device with Windows 8 Pro, when you add SA this allows you to host the desktop on a server to then be virtualised onto the licensed client machine using the VDA rights. Software assurance is a vital part of the VDI licensing story!

    You get 3 key benefits with SA

    1. VDA - Virtual Desktop Access rights

    2. Windows RT Companion VDA rights

    3. Roaming Use Rights


    As a primary user of a device licensed for Windows 8 Pro with SA you get extra rights, numbers 2 and 3 in your SA list. A primary user is anyone who has used the computer for more than 50% of the time in a 90 day period.

    One of those benefits is the Windows RT Companion VDA Rights. To have a companion device you must be a primary user of another device, and the companion device must not be any one else's primary device. The Windows RT Companion VDA Rights then allow you to virtualise your desktop onto your Companion Windows RT device without any extra licensing required.

    The primary user of a Windows SA licensed device at work can also access their VDI desktop from any device that is not owned or affiliated with the user’s organisation, outside of the corporate premises, without the need for an additional Windows VDA license via the Roaming Use Rights Software Assurance benefit. This enables VDI users to access their secure corporate desktops through an unmanaged device such as a home PC or an Internet kiosk, without the need for a laptop. However, if the user does not have a primary device at work, and needs to access his VDI desktop from a non-corporate device such as a home PC, then that device would need to be covered with a separate Windows VDA license.


    How does Microsoft license the Windows desktop for virtual environments?

    Microsoft licenses Windows for virtual desktops by access device:

    • Virtual desktop access rights are a benefit of Windows Client Software Assurance (SA). Customers who intend to use PCs covered under SA have access to their Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) desktops at no additional charge.

    • Customers who want to use devices that do not qualify for Windows Client SA, such as thin clients, will need to license those devices with Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) in order to access a Windows VDI desktop. Windows VDA is also applicable to third party devices, such as contractor or employee-owned PCs.

    Do you need to buy additional CAL's?

    You need to make sure you have RDS CALs as well, also of the User variety if you are going to be using many devices.

    We had a few questions at the camp regarding reimaging. We cover this in a nutshell below:

    Reimaging is permitted if the copies made from the Volume Licensing media are identical to the originally licensed product. Volume Licensing customers who have licensed Microsoft software products from an OEM, through a retail source, or under any agreement other than their Microsoft Volume Licensing agreement can use copies made from Microsoft Volume Licensing media. Customers can use these copies from Microsoft media only if they are the same product and version, contain the same components, and are in the same language. The following are examples that do not meet the eligibility criteria for reimaging:

    • Different products: For instance, Windows Server 2012 Standard and Windows Server 2012 Datacenter are not the same product and cannot be reimaged. This also applies to the Windows 8 and Windows operating systems.
    • Different components: The Microsoft Office system suites must have exactly the same component products. For instance, Microsoft Office Professional 2013 licensed through the OEM, system builder, or FPP channel and Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 licensed through Microsoft Volume Licensing are not the same product. They also do not share the same components. Therefore, you cannot reimage in this example.
    • Different languages: English and Multilingual User Interface (MUI) Packs are not the same language. Also, different languages such as English and French do not meet the criteria. Therefore, you cannot reimage in these examples.
    • Different versions: Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2008 R2 are not the same version, just as the Windows 8 Pro and Windows 7 Professional operating systems are not the same version. Therefore, you cannot reimage among these examples.

    Microsoft Volume Licensing programs do not offer licenses for the full version of the Windows operating system for desktop PCs. However, the media for both the full version and the Volume Licensing upgrade version of the operating system are available under those programs. Reimaging using Volume Licensing full version media requires that customers have licensed the Windows desktop operating system either preinstalled through the OEM or as an FPP retail product. Volume Licensing customers can use their Volume Licensing media to reimage their Windows desktop operating system from an OEM only if it is the same product and version as that on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) label that came with the PC.

    Do I have the right to reimage with a prior version of my licensed product?

    You can reimage using a prior version if the license terms for the software that you want to reimage permit you to use a prior version in place of the licensed version. The eligibility requirements as stated above regarding product and version, components, and language apply.


    This is one scenario and licensing situation. Each customer scenario can vary by deployment, usage, product version, and product use rights.  Always check your contract, and the current Products Use Rights document to confirm how your environment should be fully licensed.  The blogging team does not warrant that this scenario will be the right licensing solution for other similar cases.

  • Guest Post: Analysing Twitter Data with Hadoop and Power View

    By Jen Stirrup

    In the first part of this blog series, we looked at how social media data is a big driver for Big Data technologies such as HDInsight. However, once it is in HDInsight, how is it possible for business users to access the data using familiar tools such as Excel?

    Large datasets can become difficult to navigate, evaluate and to use – this means that users will need a ‘helping hand’ in order to obtain their data. Fortunately, we have a number of tools available to us for visualising data, and these tools vary with respect to their usability and accessibility. This is depicted below:

    Figure 1Relationship between Business and Technical oriented reporting tools

    In this section, we will look at PowerPivot and Power View, which are aimed more at the business end of Business Intelligence consumers and users, rather than technically-oriented team members.

    How do we get Big Data into PowerPivot? There are a number of stages involved in connecting PowerPivot to Hadoop. The steps are outlined here:

    1. Firstly, install the Hive ODBC connector for Excel. For details, please see the Windows Azure reference.

    2. Next, you will need to create an ODBC data source for Hadoop. This is required so that you can connect to the defined data source, specify your credentials and so on. For details, please refer to the Windows Azure reference, where the ‘Help’ content is now being stored.

    3. The final stage is to import data. Windows Azure has a reference section on importing data, which can be found here.

    4. You may also need to open ports on your Hadoop Cluster. Cindy Gross (@SQLCIndy ¦ Blog) has provided details on this process, which you can find here.

    5. You also need to make sure that PowerPivot is enabled as a COM add-in. To do that, please visit the Office reference here.

    Importing Data into PowerPivot

    For general details on importing data in to PowerPivot, please visit the Microsoft Office 2013 website here. Here are the instructions for importing Hadoop data into PowerPivot:

    Open a new blank workbook in Excel 2013. Look for the PowerPivot tab at the right hand side, and then click on the green Manage button in the Data Model group on the far left. In order to get Hadoop data, you need to click on “Get External Data” in the PowerPivot for Excel dialog.

    To get Hive data, choose “From Other Sources” then select “Others (OLEDB/ODBC)” and click on the "Next >" button. To give the connection a ‘friendly’ name, you can choose ‘TwitterData’ or something else descriptive.

    Once you have entered all of the necessary details, the wizard will continue. Choose the “Next >” option, and then choose the option “Select from a list of tables and views to choose the data to import”. Choose the census table then click on “Finish”.

    The data is now loaded into PowerPivot – success! We can now use it in PowerView.

    Adding a PowerView visualisation

    Once the data is in PowerPivot, we can visualise it using Power View. To add a ‘Power View’ sheet, click on the bottom and add ‘New Power View’ as an option. The data model will appear at the right hand side, and we can start to create our own visualisation of the Twitter data.


    Although there are a lot of ‘working parts’ in order to get this working, it is straightforward since we are primarily using tools which are familiar to us. When #BigData goes mainstream, people will start to want to get their hands on it, and PowerPivot is perfectly positioned for data-savvy Business Intelligence practitioners to start to use Big Data due to its speed of access and delivery.


    Author Bio

    Jen Stirrup

    Copper Blue Consulting

    Jen Stirrup is a SQL Server MVP, with a Bachelors degree in Psychology and two Masters in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science. Jen is joint owner of Copper Blue Consulting, delivering data and Business Intelligence solutions to global clients. Jen is a veteran SQL Server Developer with over 12 years SQL experience in delivering end-to-end Business Intelligence solution. Jen blogs for SQLServerPedia as well as her own blog. She is very active in many SQL Server User Groups in the UK, helping to run the SQLHerts group in England. Jen's focus is on the Microsoft BI stack, with a specific passion for Data Visualisation.

  • FREE Windows Azure Camp for the IT Pro - London, 2nd May.

    We’re running another camp for IT Pros who need to get up to speed with Windows Azure. At the end of the day you’ll walk away from the camp with a complete Sharepoint infrastructure deployed with AD, SQL Server and a Sharepoint Farm of 2 servers. It’s basically your first pop-up lab.

    They are great days, ask anybody who’s been.


    Register here for London on 2nd May

    Here’s a quick video of a Dev Camp – OK so the material is different but the feel of the day is the same.

    See you there!

  • Case Study: London Council Uses Private Cloud to Cut Costs and Support Flexible Working


    Newham Council wanted to support staff working remotely and make efficiency savings by developing systems using cloud-based services. The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games presented an opportunity to use the Windows Server 2012 operating system and Microsoft System Center 2012 to give secure remote access to information for 1,400 employees. Home working resulted in staff becoming more productive, paving the way for further cloud services.


    The London Borough of Newham is a unitary local authority led by a directly elected mayor, serving a population of around 300,000 living close to the site of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. High-quality public services and innovative approaches to their delivery are central to Newham Council. And nowhere is this more evident than in the IT team under the leadership of Chief Information Officer (CIO) Geoff Connell, who is also CIO for neighbouring Havering Council.

    In 2011, Newham Council embarked on a project to share IT and support services with Havering, aiming to save £11 million (U.S.$16 million) by 2015. Driving down costs and increasing efficiency are challenges shared by all local authorities in the U.K., and Newham Council aims to do this through its focus on citizen-centric services.

    In terms of innovation, Newham Council has made a substantial commitment to remote working, online self-service for citizens, shared services, and collective procurement—all with the aim of doing more with less. This strategy proved particularly successful during the 2012 Olympic Games, when home working relieved pressure on services and staff were more productive.

    These innovations—including the shared infrastructure with Havering Council and a self-service portal for citizens—have created a strong argument for developing cloud-based systems. Connell has predicted that within five years most Newham Council IT services will be cloud-based, which will involve close collaboration with Microsoft. “Success is about collaborating with your suppliers. You can’t do everything from scratch. You have to find partners that are prepared to be flexible,” he says.

    As a result of these policy changes, Newham Council is now using the Microsoft private cloud solution to deliver further savings and efficiencies, while at the same time taking advantage of its existing Microsoft-based estate.

    To learn more about this private cloud solution they used have a trial of:

    Find out Newham Council managed to meet their requirements by viewing the Case study here

  • Infographic: The State of Cloud Storage in 2013

    Do you wonder how the different cloud storage offerings stack up? have been doing some research and have produced the following infographic for you to enjoy.



    Pop over to their website to view the full report.

    Get the Free-Trial 

  • Tech Days Online - 24th April - 26th April - Speaker Announcements Part 5

    I am delighted to announce that during Tech Days Online we will be conducting an interview with:

    Microsoft Ambassador, Former British Lion and RWC Winner, Will Greenwood

    Will Greenwood is one of England's greatest ever rugby players. In a professional career that spanned 11 years and 55 international caps he established a reputation as an unsurpassed mid-field creator. The second highest international try scoring centre of all time, he was an integral part of England's victorious World Cup campaign of 2003, a character and leader in one of the most successful team dynamics seen in recent times. Since retirement Will has gone on to establish himself as one of the foremost voices in the rugby media; a renowned analyst, and one of the most intelligent and entertaining characters in the game.

    We will be talking to Will about how he is using technology to be effective as an analyst and media pundit.  He will be following the Lions to Australia this summer and will be relying on technology to keep on top of the action.  We will be asking him all about this via a live interview.

    The full agenda can be found here: 

    If you've not yet registered, then you can do so here: <Register>